Longtime professor, administrator David Whorton dies

Professor Whorton

David M. Whorton, a longtime professor and NAU administrator, died Feb. 23, 2008. He was 69.

Dr. Whorton was at NAU from 1970 through his retirement in 1998. He was a professor emeritus in the College of Education and held several key leadership positions, including serving for 10 years as associate vice president for Academic Affairs, undergraduate studies, as interim director of the School of Performing Arts, and as chair of the Faculty Association and University Faculty.

“Dave was one of the finest faculty and administrators we had at NAU,” said former NAU President Eugene Hughes. “He worked with me to establish the Center for Excellence in Education (now the College of Education). You could always count on him.”

Born Nov. 9, 1938, in Cleveland, Ohio, to Duty and Annie Whorton, he earned a bachelor’s in music education and a master’s of science in secondary education at Oklahoma State University and a doctoral degree in educational administration from the University of Texas in Austin.

Dr. Whorton’s career as an educator included working as a music teacher and school superintendent in Oklahoma. In 1970, he moved to Flagstaff to teach doctoral students at NAU.

“David Whorton brought to NAU a standard of excellence that has and will continue to serve this institution well into the future,” said David A. Williams, a professor emeritus of educational leadership.

Throughout his teaching career, Dr. Whorton won numerous awards, including the university’s Distinguished Service Award.

“He was admired and respected by students, faculty and administrators, and for good reason,” said Harlan Johnson, professor emeritus in the College of Education. “He always had the best interests of the NAU community at heart. He was a true friend and valued colleague to all of us who knew him.”

Dr. Whorton was an Air Force captain and fighter pilot instructor for supersonic aircraft. He also played the viola for the Flagstaff Symphony for 17 years and was an avid outdoorsman.

He is survived by his wife, Lorrie Whorton of Flagstaff; daughters Dana Clausen of Long Beach, Calif. and Wendy (Brian) Murray of Portland, Ore; son Derek, in graduate school in Seattle, Wash.; brother Ron (Christine) of Oro Valley; sister, Martha Rogers, and nephew John Evans of Flagstaff.

A celebration of Dr. Whorton’s life will be at 3 p.m. Saturday, March 29, at the Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church, 1601 N. San Francisco St. in Flagstaff. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions to the American Cancer Society, the Grand Canyon National Park Foundation or Northland Hospice.